Pad Thai is internationally known as the signature dish of Thailand. It started as a street food and common choice at casual eateries, but with the popularity of Thai cuisine spreading around the world it’s no wonder this delicious stir-fried noodle dish has become a favorite outside of Thailand and a standard on basically every Thai menu.
Pad Thai literally means ‘Thai style frying’, so it is essential to really fry the noodles to get the best tasting Pad Thai. I recommend using a very hot wok, but if you don’t have a wok then you can also use a pan (a very hot pan). For best results cook this recipe in 2 batches so that the noodles get equal frying time. A Pad Thai also needs a very good sauce, and I’m happy to share (what took me years of trial and error) the best Pad Thai sauce. When all the ingredients are combined it creates the four cornerstone flavors of Thai cuisine that will make you love Pad Thai: sweet, sour, salty and hot.
For this MNSDK Cooking with Friends post, I am pleased to introduce Carolien from Flower My Day (www.flowermyday.nl). Carolien is a fairly new friend, but it didn’t take me long to recognize her generous heart and soul. Aside from managing her own beautiful flower and garden studio (which I can definitely attest to) she is an active member of various charity organizations for children. A busy wife and mother of three, Carolien is always creating a better day for everyone.
So if you are like me and don’t have easy access to a Thai restaurant (and if you don’t know me well I’m a Chicagoan who moved to the Netherlands 7 years ago) learn to make Pad Thai in your very own kitchen. I chose shrimp for this recipe, but feel free to use your favorite, whether that be beef, chicken, or scallops, or even skip meat altogether and just add in tofu or your favorite vegetables (most popular for Pad Thai being broccoli and peapods). Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from The Spruce (with slight changes).
Shrimp Pad Thai
A popular thai dish that is often served as street food in Thailand but now a common menu item in Thai restaurants.
- 16 oz Thai rice noodles (any width)
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 450g raw shrimp, shells removed
- 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- 5 spring onions, chopped in 1-inch lengths)
- 300g (5-6 cups) bean sprouts
- a handful of fresh cilantro
- lime wedges (about 2 limes)
- roasted peanuts, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- Sriracha (optional for more spicy flavor)
- SAUCE INGREDIENTS:
- 3 tablespoons tamarind paste
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 6 tablespoons fish sauce
- 7 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon garlic chili sauce
- 3/4 cup chicken stock
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Step 1 MAKE THE SAUCE: Combine all 7 ingredients into a small pan. Simmer on low heat until all ingredients are well combined. Taste and add a bit more salt (if needed) since salt content in chicken stock can vary. Set aside.
- Step 2 Bring a large pot of water to boil. Once at boiling temperature turn the heat off. Add the noodles and soak for about 3 minutes (but refer to package instructions for best results). You want them to be about 1 minute undercooked because the noodles will be cooked again (actually fried) later. Take out and rinse under cold water. Drain and set aside.
- Step 3 Prepare the remaining ingredients (ie shrimp cleaned, minced garlic and grated ginger, sprouts washed, spring onion, peanuts and cilantro chopped, lime cut into wedges) before moving on to the next step.
- Step 4 (TIP: If you want best frying results split the recipe in half and cook in 2 batches. If you have too much noodles in the wok/pan at one time then the noodles will end up getting more steamed than fried resulting in mushy noodles.) In a large wok (or large skillet/pan) heat vegetable oil. Add garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds. Then add in all your shrimp and cook until pink and plump. Add spring onions and stir for 1 minute. Add noodles and sauce. Stir to combine. Cook long enough (2-3 minutes) so that the noodles finish cooking and sauce is well combined. Fold in bean sprouts and give it a final toss. (Repeat this ‘step 4’ with the remaining ingredients if cooking in 2 batches.)
- Step 5 Serve in individual plates/bowls. Top with cilantro, roasted peanuts and a lime wedge. Sriracha drizzled on top completes the dish for those that like it more spicy.